BLAST works at all levels to advocate for improvements in working conditions and workplace safety. BLAST holds roundtables, sends memoranda and takes legal action to improve and enforce laws that affect workers in both the formal and informal sector. BLAST also directly serves workers through its mediation and litigation assistance programs. BLAST has been particularly successful in helping workers, especially women workers, obtain back wages and other legal entitlements from employers through mediation.
BLAST actively advocates for changes in labour laws and policies to improve labour conditions. Some changes that BLAST successfully lobbied for in the Labour Law, 2006 included provisions to increase the duration of maternity leave, increase the minimum wage, ensure equal pay for equal work of male and female workers, require provision of appointment letters to all workers and provide for punishment of sexual harassment in the workplace. Following the passage of the Labour Law, 2006, BLAST successfully lobbied for the establishment of the Labour Appellate Tribunal as provided for in the law. BLAST is also closely involved in the Domestic Workers Rights Network (DWRN). In October 2009, DWRN submitted the "Code of Conduct for Ensuring Domestic Workers Rights and Welfare" and a proposed amendment to the Labour Law, 2006 to the Ministry of Labour and Employment. The Minstry has since framed the Draft Domestic Workers Protection and Welfare Policy 2010 in consultation with DWRN members.
BLAST also monitors the implementation of safety laws and regulations and undertakes public interest litigation to hold state bodies responsible for worker safety. Recent litigation included petitions regarding collapses and fires in garments factories and construction standards under the National Building Construction Code, 2006. In these petitions, which are now pending for hearing, BLAST and others asked the High Court to order the Government to ensure compliance with safety laws and investigate such incidents and prosecute those responsible for worker deaths and injuries.
BLAST works closely with Safety and Rights and BRAC's Human Rights and Legal Services in a programme designed to provide compensation to dependent families and injuries workers following workplace death and injury. Following investigation into deaths and injuries by BRAC/Safety and Rights, BLAST is involved in filing cases before the labour courts around the country to obtain the compensation for those families and injured workers who have not received the level of compensation as required by the Bangladesh Labour Act 2006; in relation to a workplace death this is Tk1 Lakh, and for a permanent injury, Tk1.25 lakh. So far BLAST has filed over 30 compensation suits.
Public Interest Litigation
- ASK, BLAST and others vs. Bangladesh and others [KTS Garments Fire Case]
Writ Petition No. 2019 of 2006
- Md. Kamal Hossain and others vs. Bangladesh and others [Spectrum Sweater Factory Collapse Case]
Writ Petition No. 3566 of 2005
- BLAST and another vs. Bangladesh and others [Building Construction Code and Worker Safety Case]
Writ Petition No. 718 of 2008
- BLAST and another vs. Bangladesh and others [Labour Tribunal Case]
Writ Petition No. 6448 of 2008